Chile to de­lay ar­bi­tra­tion with top lithium pro­ducer

Business a.m. - - COMMODITIES & AGRICULTURE -

CHILE WILL DE­LAY A PRE VIOUSLY an­nounced ar­bi­tra­tion with Albe­marle Corp, the world’s top lithium pro­ducer, in an­tic­i­pa­tion that the U.S.based miner will make a new of­fer to bring it into com­pli­ance with a 2016 con­tract, a source close to the ne­go­ti­a­tions told Reuters.

Un­der the con­tract, U.S.based Albe­marle had agreed to pro­vide as much as 25 per­cent of its an­nual pro­duc­tion at a dis­count to com­pa­nies seek­ing to pro­duce bat­tery met­als within Chile.

But state de­vel­op­ment agency Corfo, which leases min­ing rights to Albe­marle in the lithium-rich Salar de Ata­cama, had in Oc­to­ber threat­ened to re­fer the dis­pute to the Paris-based In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce, say­ing the miner had failed to make a “se­ri­ous” of­fer to the com­pa­nies, thus vi­o­lat­ing the terms of its con­tract.

The source with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions told Reuters at­tor­neys for Albe­marle and Corfo had con­tin­ued con­ver­sa­tions re­cently and that Corfo an­tic­i­pated Albe­marle would soon make a more fa­vor­able of­fer.

Albe­marle did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Albe­marle had pre­vi­ously said it regretted the dis­agree­ment, but de­cried what it con­sid­ered the “sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ence” be­tween the con­trac­tual agree­ment and what Corfo is now de­mand­ing.

The con­tract clause that re­quires Albe­marle to pro­vide the ul­tra­light bat­tery metal at a re­duced price is in­tended to help spur a value-added lithium in­dus­try.

In March, Corfo awarded con­tracts to Chile’s Moly­met, China’s Sichuan Fulin In­dus­trial Group and a joint ven­ture be­tween Sam­sung SDI Co Ltd and South Ko­rea’s POSCO to pro­duce bat­tery com­po­nents in Chile us­ing dis­counted lithium from the Ata­cama, for a to­tal in­vest­ment of $754 mil­lion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.